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Ok Tedi Mine Expects to Produce 160,000 Tons Copper This Year

Ok Tedi Mining Ltd. will produce 160,000 metric tons of copper and 500,000 ounces of gold from its namesake mine in Papua New Guinea this year, according to Ian Sheppard, general manager business development.

The forecast, given today at a presentation in Sydney, compares with output last year of 166,669 tons of copper and 515,685 ounces of gold.

Ok Tedi is seeking to extend the mine’s life to 2022 to produce copper and gold at 60 percent of current output levels. The mine is currently scheduled to close in 2013 and a study into the extension is due to finish at the end of this year, according to its website.

“Mine life extension is a genuine opportunity for our business,” Sheppard said, adding that he’s confident it will be possible to extend operations until 2022.

Copper futures on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.5 percent to $8,769.50 a ton yesterday, taking its gain since June 30 to 34 percent.

The Papua New Guinea government owns 30 percent of Ok Tedi, PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd. controls 52 percent and Inmet Mining Corp. owns 18 percent. Ok Tedi’s customers include companies in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, India and Germany and the mine accounts for 32 percent of Papua New Guinea’s total export earnings, it said.

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